• Symbolism, Patterns & Motifs
  • 100 sons and children at play: Chinese Traditional Symbols and Motifs

    The children at play motif dates back to the tang dynasty, though peaked in popularity during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Here we look at some examples of this motif as its used in antique furniture, porcelain, folk arts and paintings.

  • Cool Finds/Rare Items
  • Beautiful colors still remain on this brightly painted fo kan family shrine from Gansu used for ancestor worship

    Antique Chinese fo kan family shrine from Gansu

    Known as “fó kān” (佛龛) in Chinese these are shrines of worship – essentially a family temple. In ancient times, Fo Kan were dug from rock much like niches or grottos. Later stone, wood and other materials were used. Eventually Fo Kan began taking on architectural characteristics, modeling houses, official buildings and even palaces. This particular one is quite impressive and its owner would likely have had some level of material wealth.

  • Architectural Items
  • Red star over China – These temple carvings from the cultural revolution era sport politically correct themes

    Stowe Sprague was kind enough to send me these interesting photos on her blog from her visit to the Tulou region of Nanjing county, Fujian province.  During her visit to a temple in the town of Taxialou, she noticed the temple’s architectural wood carvings had been replaced with “politically correct themes” rather then the traditional Chinese motifs. Apparently […]

  • Symbolism, Patterns & Motifs
  • The ultimate comprehensive english/Chinese dictionary of chinese furniture vocabulary and terms

    I have seen this list floating around on the internet (though I have no idea where it originally came from). Though some terms are region-specific, its nevertheless very comprehensive with over 450 different terms. Chinese Pinyin English 朵云双螭纹 duǒ yún shuāng chī wén Cloud surrounded by confronting dragons motif. In order to make it a […]

  • Asian Home Furnishings
  • So just what is “chinoiserie” anyways?

    While trolling around on the net, I came across this very nice blog post from Posh Living which does a wonderful job of explaining what chinoiserie is which is.  A main staple amoung designers, chinoiserie design elements in a room are timeless and sophisticated.  Since we have talked in the past about how chinoiserie screens […]